Downregulation of the posterior medial frontal cortex prevents social conformity

VA Klucharev, MAM Munneke, Ale Smidts, G Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


We often change our behavior to conform to real or imagined group pressure. Social influence on our behavior has been extensively studied in social psychology, but its neural mechanisms have remained largely unknown. Here we demonstrate that the transient downregulation of the posterior medial frontal cortex by theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation reduces conformity, as indicated by reduced conformal adjustments in line with group opinion. Both the extent and probability of conformal behavioral adjustments decreased significantly relative to a sham and a control stimulation over another brain area. The posterior part of the medial frontal cortex has previously been implicated in behavioral and attitudinal adjustments. Here, we provide the first interventional evidence of its critical role in social influence on human behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11934-11940
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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